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Natural Organic Reduction Human Remains

Concerning the conversion of human remains to basic elements within a container using an accelerated process, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2020 Regular Session
Human Services
Probate, Trusts, & Fiduciaries
Professions & Occupations
Public Health
Bill Summary

The bill authorizes human remains to be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as "natural reduction". The bill prohibits the following when done in the course of business:

  • Selling or offering to sell the soil;
  • Commingling the soil of more than one person without the consent of the person with the right of final disposition unless the soil is abandoned;
  • Commingling the human remains of more than one person within the container wherein natural reduction produces soil;
  • Using the soil to grow food for human consumption.

Current law has a provision that governs the disposal of abandoned cremated remains. The soil from natural reduction is added to this provision, with an option to return the soil to the earth in a respectful manner.

Current law has various provisions that deal with burial, cremation, interment, and entombment. In connection with authorizing natural reduction, the bill replaces these terms with the phrase "final disposition", which term is defined to include natural reduction. The following types of provisions are updated to reflect the option to use natural reduction:

  • Life insurance statutes;
  • Preneed funeral insurance contracts;
  • The "Mortuary Science Code";
  • Funeral picketing statutes;
  • Litigation damages;
  • The "Colorado Probate Code";
  • The "Disposition of Last Remains Act";
  • The "Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act";
  • Missing person reports for unidentified human remains;
  • Public peace and order statutes;
  • Vital statistics statutes;
  • The "Colorado Public Assistance Act"; and
  • Firefighter pension plans.

Natural reduction is added to the statutes that regulate funeral establishments, and this addition will result in the regulation of the natural reduction process. But the definitions of "cremation" and "mortuary science practitioner" are amended so that a practitioner of natural reduction is not regulated as a cremationist or mortuary science practitioner.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details